Marine invertebrates provide a series of natural products with different biological activities. Several of these compounds and their derivatives showed a potent anticancer effect. Tunicates represent an important source of bioactive agents, leading to the isolation of ecteinascidin-743 (ET-743), a compound isolated from the Caribbean sea squirt Ecteinascidia turbinata with a potent cytotoxic activity against a variety of tumours in vitro and in vivo. Current phase II clinical trials against soft tissue sarcomas in Europe and the United States indicate that ET-743 represents a highly promising anticancer agent. Another example is aplidine from the Mediterranean tunicate Aplidium albicans, with a broad spectrum activity against various types of cancers, such as colorectal, lymphoma, thyroid and renal cancers. In the present work, we reported, for the first time, that a partially purified methanolic extract prepared from the ascidian Ciona intestinalis inhibited cell proliferation in human cell lines of different origin, including Caco2, HPB-ALL, U-937 and HL-60 and induced early apoptotic events, such as caspase-3 activation and internucleosomal DNA degradation. We suggest the presence in the Ciona intestinalis extract of bioactive compounds possessing anticancer activity.